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In the fall of 2001 I was living in Minneapolis. I was working part
time, waiting tables at the Marriott in downtown. On a very quiet Friday
night, I had only one table of two women and a man to wait on. The two
women picked out a bottle of Shiraz to drink, and the man ordered a
drink. They were very kind, and had a closeness to each other that you do
not see often in family. They took their time in the meal, had smiles,
but there was a sadness. The gentleman asked questions about me, and
learned that I had finished graduate school in music performance, and
was starting a studio of flute students. He was very interested in this,
and asked how many years he would have to practice to become a concert
pianist, and if it would be possible to do so at his age. I didn't say
it wouldn't be impossible, however very ambitious. He chuckled.
Not wanting to hover the table (they were the only ones in the
restaurant, and it's hard not to hover), I waited near the host stand after
clearing the dinner plates and dropping the check. The gentleman came up
to me and handed a credit card to me. He said, "Jenny, I want to thank
you. You were just what we needed tonight." He paused, and continued
on. "We're in town for the memorial service of my daughter." He told
me about his daughter, an employee of Cantor Fitzgerald, a graduate of
Carleton College. I learned that she was the same age as me. He stood
before me, with tears in his eyes, and I felt his love for his
daughter. In him I saw a bit of my dad and his love for me.
I've waited many tables. I've been fortunate to meet many wonderful
people, and have been touched by many strangers who I will never see
again, but I will never forget. I like to think that I give a bit of
myself to people that I meet. It was an honor to wait on Mr. Nelson that
night, his wife, and friend. I was able to share a bit of myself that
night, but received much more in return, something worth more than the
generous tip left for me on the table. I learned about Ann Nelson, and
saw a father's love for his daughter.

I found the web site about Ann tonight, found pictures of her and
family. I learned that there is now a concert hall in her name. This makes
me smile, and wonder when Mr. Nelson will be on stage to give his first
piano performance. I want to be in the audience to applaud a great
father and his daughter.

My thoughts and prayers to you, Ann's family and friends.